This year has been a bit of a bleak one for the world as a whole. It’s also been a bit shit on a personal level. But it hasn’t all been bad so I wanted to take a look back at some of the things that I have achieved this year in terms of getting my voice heard. After all, that’s what this blog is all about! This might be a little bit ‘ooh look at all the great things I’ve done’ and if that annoys you, stop reading. However, hopefully it will encourage you to reflect on your positives in 2016 rather than the negatives which are always much easier to remember.
Back in May, it was mental health awareness week and I was really fortunate to get involved with the Mental Health Foundation’s work around this. The focus was on relationships and the impact on mental health. I wrote a blog post for them which was also published on the Huffington Post. The easy part was the blog post. The hard part was when they asked to meet me and find out about my journey with mental health. This involved talking to a couple of strangers about my experiences with support from a young age. It was difficult to talk about all the crap I went through trying to get help as a teenager but it was for a good cause – they went on to use my experience as a case study in their work to improve CAMHS services. This all taught me about the importance of being brutally honest about mental health. Sugar coating it doesn’t help anyone and just pushes us towards hiding our reality.
In August, this post proved to be very popular. Until then I had never had a post on here that seemed to have such an impact. I was getting so many tweets and people viewing my blog that it got a bit overwhelming. While I appreciated the response to something which I think needs to be talked about, I also felt a bit sick every time I got another notification. It really made me wonder how on earth people cope with popularity on social media! Despite taking part in campaigns to reduce stigma and raise awareness, I still strongly believe that the focus needs to shift. I felt proud of myself for writing about something which so many other people seemed to relate to.
October rolled around and I was very lucky to get a post published over on the Time to Talk website. The response to this was so incredibly positive and it made my heart happy. While I’ve never focused on views and responses to what I write, it did feel pretty good to know that so many people were reading my words (if not a little daunting as well!)
Essentially, this year has been really hard for me in battling my illness. Pushing myself to be honest and open about it has really helped. I am still struggling but writing about it is incredibly cathartic and I like to think it helps others a little, too. So to everyone who has read any of my blog posts, shared them, commented on them in 2016 – thank you! Without knowing it, you are a big part of my journey towards better management of my BPD. I hope that 2017 will be kinder to all of us.